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    3 Lesser-Known Negative Effects of Hard Water

    Hard water deposit and rust on shower tap
    Hard water contains especially high levels of minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Over time, these minerals form deposits known as scale, which can create serious problems for hot water heaters and other home appliances. As scale deposits growth thicker, they impede appliance efficiency and often lead to premature failure.
    Yet the effects of hard water actually go far beyond such issues, affecting everything from your health to your clothes. If you would like to increase your knowledge of hard water, keep reading. This article takes a close look at three lesser-known side-effects of water with excessive mineral content and what you can do to prevent them.
    1. Dirtier Clothes
    Hard water affects the performance of soap on a chemical level. Instead of leading to the formation of a rich, effective lather, hard water minerals react with soap to form insoluble scum. This scum clings to fabric with incredible tenacity. Furthermore, it reduces the effectiveness of laundry detergent, requiring you to use up to 30 percent more.
    The effects of hard water gradually take a toll on your clothes. You may notice that you simply cannot get rid of certain stains or soils. Your clothes may also feel especially stiff and scratchy. Colored fabrics may show gray or whitish streaks. Fabrics also take on a dingy, gray, or otherwise discolored nature.
    To reduce the ill effects of hard water in the washing machine, use liquid laundry detergent. Unlike powdered detergents, liquid cleaners contain nonionic surfactants that resist hard water. Likewise, you can improve performance by adding a half cup of laundry borax to every load. Borax reacts independently with minerals, preventing them from bonding with the detergent.
    2. Spotting on Dishes   
                                           
    Hard water problems also tend to crop up inside of your dishwasher. For one thing, mineral deposits can easily clog the tiny openings along the sprayer wands. Such clogs make it harder for the machine to ensure that all dishes receive an adequate and equal supply of soapy water. As hard water deposits increase, you may find more and more food particles sticking to your dishes.
    Hard water also leaves behind unattractive deposits on your dishes themselves. You may notice that your dishes come out looking streaky and/or spotted. These spots remain on the dishes even once they're fully dry, giving them an unclean appearance. You can reduce such spotting by adding rinse aids and/or vinegar to your dishwasher during the run cycle.
    3. Skin Problems
    The same chemical reaction that causes spots to form on dishes, and scum to cling to clothes, also leaves minerals on your skin when you come out of the shower. These minerals dry out the skin and can lead to a wide range of associated problems. Soap residue also clogs up your pores and can cause topical irritation.
    Hard water tends to aggravate skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, and eczema. You may also notice irritation of the scalp. In fact, calcium and magnesium deposits actually inhibit the growth of hair. Worse still, those minerals dry out the scalp, leading to excessive flaking and dandruff.
    To minimize such conditions, try to avoid using very hot water in the shower. Hotter water tends to exacerbate dryness, thus increasing the negative effects of hard water. Also consider ditching soap in favor of slightly acidic cleansers, which do not strip your skin of its valuable outer layer of oil.
    Homeowners who really want to eliminate hard water problems should strongly consider investing in a water softener. Water softeners treat all of your home's water, meaning you can avoid all of the issues discussed above. To learn more about whether a water softener could benefit your home, contact the plumbing pros at King Rooter.